Punctilious Chrome fanatics love squeezing every ounce of productivity out of this popular browser. There’s no doubt about it, Chrome is an industrious accessory for internet hungry users. Most of the time it categorically gets the job done and it’s snappy, go-get-er’ attitude makes it perennial favorite among geeks and gurus.
You can do a lot of cool things with Chrome. For example, with one deft click, you can move multiple tabs to a new window, or adroitly manage multiple browser profiles for your family, or simply get a grip on all those Chrome.exe processes (right from within the browser).
But as great as these little tricks are and as happy as they make me, there are some browser tips that never fail to put me in a jocular mood. It’s hard not to get lyrical when I talk about my affinity for keyboard shortcuts.
I interact with my computer by typing with two hands on the keys. When I get the spontaneous urge to switch to an open tab (Ctrl + Tab) it feels natural to press a quick key combo instead of removing my right hand to hold the mouse.
That’s why I like shortcuts but I hate that generic word; that’s why I prefer to call them Chromecuts because, it’s perfectly apropos for Chrome and – well it sounds cool too.
Don’t be afraid
Timorous users might feel intimidated by the prospect of relying on a keyboard to explore the internet, I mean, what can be easier than pointing and clicking? But i’m convicted that there are a few Chromecuts that are so useful, so soigné, and so downright sexy that once you start using them you may be tempted to relegate your mouse to to oblivion. Your mouse will become an extraneous accessory that you used to know but now couldn’t care less about…
Okay okay, I’m exaggerating big time but my point is that Chromecuts are hip.
Some of these Chromecuts require the mouse but they will definitely get you going with less clicks.
Here are my favorites: feel free to take a few and put them in your pocket.
1. Ctrl + Shift + t = Revive Dead Tabs
First up: resurrecting tabs you accidentally killed.
I love love love this.
Check it out: you’re blithely opening tabs like a pro. Heck, you’ve got 20 freggin’ tabs open at once but things are getting crazy so you start to clear the clutter. But after shutting down a few tabs you instantly realize:
Oh crap, I wanted those, is there anyway to get those tabs back?
Google Chrome actually remembers the last 10 tabs that you’ve closed so you can press Ctrl + Shift + T up to 10 times to get em’ all back.
2. Shift + F5 = Hard Refresh
Pressing Shift + F5 is the ultimate refresh because it not only reloads the current web page but also ignores cached content.
As you browse the web, Chrome collects and stores web elements like images and stylesheets so subsequent visits to the same page (or other pages that rely on the same elements) don’t have to download everything again. The concomitant result is usually a faster browsing experience; however sometimes things go awry.
When a page you’ve always visited looks funny (missing images, weird formatting) try the Hard Refresh keyboard trick to snap it back into reality. This is especially relevant on websites that are continually updating like your Twitter feed or an open inbox.
3. Ctrl + Shift + n = Be Furtive
This three-finger-trigger fires open a new Incognito window.
This slick Chromecut let’s you browse the web in private. Any webpages you surf while in Incognito mode are ephemeral and therefore vanish on exit.
Download a few files? Those aren’t recorded.
Worried about your browsing history? Not recorded.
What about cookies? Yup, Google deletes all those immediately after closing the browser too.
This is great when you need to use the internet to print out a boarding pass at a hotel or access your email in a library. You should always use this Chromecut especially whenever you’re using the internet from a public computer that has Chrome installed.
One caveat: If you login to your Google Account while Incognito, Google will still chronicle your web searches but fortunately you can get Google off your back by disabling Google Web History.
4. Alt + e = Chrome Menu
Normally, to open your Chrome Menu you have to click that little icon with three horizontal lines that sits in the upper right corner of the browser window.
Alt + e saves a click and gets you to the Chrome menu in style
Super Chromecut tip: Alt + e + s drops you directly into the Settings menu.
5. Ctrl + j = View Downloads
Ever wonder where Chrome archives your download history?
Press Ctrl + j to flip open the Downloads tab to see all your stuff. If you have a ponderous collection of downloads, you can search the tome by clicking inside the search box. It lives along the top of the screen immediately to the right of the blue down-arrow icon.
You can also clear your tracks by clicking Clear All along the right edge.
6. Ctrl + Click = Open Tab in Background
Okay, so let’s say you’re reading a Wikipedia article because you’re doing research for grad school or you’re watching a Youtube video and want to load the author’s channel page but don’t want to leave the video you’re viewing.
Hold down the Ctrl key as you left click the link and Chrome will surreptitiously spawn the page in a new tab without directing your focus away from the active tab. The new window swiftly opens in a new tab but you never leave the current tab.
7. Alt + d = Go to the Address Bar
Although Address Bar might sound like a swanky name for an exclusive pub that only grants access to well dressed women; in the context of Google Chrome, going to the address bar means putting the focus in the long text box that rides along the top edge of the screen: it’s where you enter your website addresses.
The old way to surf the net was to click inside the bar and type your web site.
The smarter method is to press Alt and d to get there quickly. Try it now. It’s pretty fun.
8. Ctrl + Shift + Delete = Clear Cache Fast
When your browser is really starting to piss you off because it’s too slow just press Ctrl and Shift and Delete simultaneously to purge your cache. This nifty Chromecut instantly opens the clear browsing data box. And pressing enter zaps the cache.
9. Ctrl + Mouse Scroll = Magnifier
Text too small? Hold the Ctrl key and scroll up. Text too big? Just keep holding Ctrl and scroll in the opposite direction. You can also achieve the same effect by pressing the plus (+) and minus (–) keys on the keyboard.
Ctrl + 0 (zero) returns everything to the normal default size.
10. Ctrl + Enter = .com URLs for the Lazy
What happens when you type this into the address bar and press enter:
By default, Chrome dutifully executes a Google search against the keyword and displays the traditional search engine results page.
But what if you wanted to go directly to hp.com without typing the .com? Is there an easy way to do that? Yup, there’s a Chromecut for that.
Ctrl + Enter affixes a www prefix and a .com suffix to any term in the location bar. I admit, this one is a little silly but it’s still fun to use.
The Bottom Line
Chrome comes chock full with a plethora of shortcuts but only are few are essential. I wanted to show you my top 10 Chrome shortcuts (Chromecuts) because I find they enhance my web browsing experience. In this article I showed you how to resurrect dead tabs, force a hard refresh, go incognito, invoke the Chrome menu, view your downloads, open tabs in the background, go to the address bar, clear your cache fast, increase readability with zoom and turn keywords into perfect dot com URLs with Ctrl + Enter.
Nothing here will make you jump for joy but it will certainly help you get the most out of Chrome. It also has the serendipitous effect of impressing your friends too… and you can’t go wrong with that.
Do you have any favorite Chomecuts? Share the love in the comments!